Monday, March 31, 2014

Musing Mondays -- March 31, 2014

I am currently reading The Master Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini.  This is the sixth book in the Elm Creek Quilt Series and I am already unable to put it down.  I absolutely love this series and I think part of it is the setting.  It is set in the small college town of Waterford, Pennsylvania and, even though I have never visited Pennsylvania, I identify with it because part of my family came from Pennsylvania.  The  idea of a huge mansion, a historical home being turned into a quilt camp with lovely grounds is right up my alley.   I also have a great admiration for the main character, Sylvia Compson.  While we aren't even close in age, I admire her spirit and would like to be like her when I get to her age.  So far this series has been really enjoyable and I don't think this particular book is going to be any different.

This last week I went on a bit of a splurge with book shopping.  I have a love/hate relationship with my Nook but one day I decided to love it and set about exploring the Barnes and Noble site, concentrating on the Nook Book section.  I picked up several books on their "under $5" section.

These books are:

Relatively Dead  Sheila Connolly
Firefly Lane  Kristin Hannah
The House Girl  Tara Conklin
The Norfolk Mystery - Series #1  Ian Samson
Asylum Madeleine Roux

That should be enough to keep me going for a while -- not to mention the 75 unread books on my bookshelf.  So, yeah, guess I better go get started! Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Growing Up or Growing Old?

I have been reading a good deal of minimalist blogs and articles lately and I am having a change of mind about things.  An epiphany, so to speak.  This great revelation?  I hate clutter.   I REALLY hate clutter.  The thing is -- what, exactly, IS clutter? 

I have had a creative streak all my life.  From the time I was little and begged Granny Schmidt (my OTHER grandmother, actually no relation) to teach me to make pot holders on a little loom from the five and dime, I have had my hands in some sort of crafty endeavor.  However, crafty endeavors usually involve space and mess. It used to not bother me.  I could sew with a baby on my lap or cross stitch with kids on either side of me making a mess of the thread.  I could leave it there to pick up again in the next ten minutes or the next month and it never bothered me.  Now, not so much.

I don't have a lot of time to get involved in crafty things anymore and honestly, I don't have a lot of interest anymore either.  It seems like the enjoyment is overshadowed by the mess.  I don't have a dedicated sewing room -- and don't really want one because I am afraid it would make me crazy if it wasn't cleaned up and everything put away all the time.  It seems like my life is just taking a different turn.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I think would make me happy at this point in my life.  The first thing that I see when I close my eyes is a clean house.  I don't mean just dusted, vacuumed and mopped -- I mean every flat surface empty.  I can see having what I need and no more and all those things in their place. When I think about all the crafting things stashed in drawers and cabinets and closets I feel my skin crawling.  I spent the better part of the weekend going through and throwing away magazines and I was almost physically ill because to me it seemed I was throwing away money but the truth of the matter is, we have no more room to store magazines.  Pure and simple.  The dust the emanated from the piles sent my allergic response into a tail spin so those piles of mags were literally making me sick.  I finally just threw everything away. 

The second thing I see is taking care of myself.  Less stress for one thing.  For some reason I feel like I SHOULD be doing all these crafty things, that I should WANT to do them but I don't. That causes me stress because I feel like I am not doing something I should be doing. What do I want to do?  I want to get my hair done and polish my toenails.  I want to take walks and sit on the patio and watch the birds.  I want to read wonderful books and go to bed early in a clean, uncluttered, undusty bedroom.  I want to walk in my bathroom and see a clean vanity with NOTHING on it.   I want my world to be calm and quiet.

I don't know if something is wrong with me, if I am just getting old or maybe just growing up.  I don't know if I am finally looking at my life through my eyes at what I want rather than what other people want me to do or what I think I should do in comparison to other people.  Maybe I am just becoming true to myself.  Maybe there are just not enough hours in a day and I am having to prioritize.  I think that is what it is.  I am having to decide what is the most important way to spend my time, what things do I find enjoyable and what environment makes me the most comfortable.  Maybe I have learned I can't do it all and truthfully don't want to. Maybe I have learned that less is more. 

The answer to the initial question -- what is clutter?  In my eyes, clutter is anything that isn't used, beautiful, loved and doesn't have a place. Clutter is anything that saps your energy or creates anxiety (NOT children -- children aren't clutter!).  There are all sorts of clutter -- paper, supplies, books, magazines, noise, decor, color -- whatever creates chaos in your existence. The eight bottles of extremely dated, stinky cologne that I won't throw out because they were gifts comes immediately to mind.

Now that I have identified clutter -- the trick is to get rid of it in a timely manner sans guilt.  Yes, that is a trick.  I don't think a person should feel guilty over inanimate objects like fabric or scrapbooking supplies.  My problem is that I see these things as money -- they cost money so to throw them away or give them away is the same is throwing away money.  I have to get past that.  Maybe donating them would be helpful.  However, whatever it takes is what I will do because I need to set about creating this new environment and way of life for myself.  I don't want to feel guilty over passing along some sewing stuff.  What I want is to feel like  I don't have to practically renovate the house for somebody to walk in the front door.  It is more important to me to have a clean, welcoming home than to have copious amounts of stuff around me taking up precious real estate in closets and drawers.  There, I said it.  That is what I want.  I want the things and activities that are important to me and I want to get rid of all the junk.

So, am I growing old or growing up?

Stream of Consciousness

I was looking for a new meme for Sunday and ran across this one at  The idea is to set a timer and write for five minutes, whatever comes into your head, whatever you are thinking about -- possibly even word association, I would suppose.  So, for the next five minutes I am going to give it a go.  One, two, three -- go.

Do you believe in genetic memory?  From what I understand, genetic memory is memory(ies) that is passed on to you through your DNA -- memories of your parents, grandparents, etc.  I think the idea is completely bizarre except for the dream.  

Yes, I have always had a recurring dream -- well, not always -- it started when I was a child and continued until I went on a quest to find the house. I found the house and never had the dream again.

In the dream I am standing behind an old high school near downtown. Like most of the buildings of it's era it was imposing and elaborate.  It was the only high school in town for a long time -- the first high school, if you will.  I was on the street behind it looking at a house.  I was in current time but the house was not-- it was almost like a split screen on a tv program but part of it was very foggy -- like an old sepia photo -- and there was a wagon with a horse attached sitting in front on the street. I knew this house, it was familiar, I knew who was in the house.....I woke up.

Ok, my five minutes are up.  That is what I woke up thinking about this morning.  I don't know why, I haven't thought about it for a long time.  Maybe it is because I am planning a summer return to my hometown and that is where this house is.  Every time I go I try to see the house -- one day I am sure I will go and it won't be there.  I will be sad because this house draws me in -- not in a bad way -- and I need to know the connection.  Ah, genealogy -- there is never an end to it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In a recent Facebook conversation with some younger folks, the subject of required reading in school came up.  The youngsters were discussing what they were required to read and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was mentioned.  When I responded that I had never read the book shouts of horror reached the heavens.  I further explained that it wasn't required.  More shouts.  In my defense, I threw out titles like Beowulf and Canterbury Tales but that did not impress.  Somehow, because I had not read The Great Gatsby my education was in question.  So.......I stopped by my neighborhood Half Price Books and picked up a copy and read it.  Now I don't have to be ashamed of my lesser education -- I have been duly instructed in the writing style of Fitzgerald.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, born in 1896 (the year of my grandfather's birth) in Minnesota.  He attended Princeton University and published his first novel in 1920.  He married Zelda Sayre and lived between New York, Paris and the French Riviera.  He was part of the expatriate group including Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. He went on to write such masterpieces as The Beautiful and the Damned  and Tender is the Night.   He died in 1940 of a heart attack.  Fitzgerald is acknowledged to be one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century.

I enjoyed the book a great deal but honestly, I feel like I have read it before.  I know I haven't seen any of the movie versions but it seems hauntingly familiar to me.  The setting in this book was lush.  I was taken back to an era that I have only read about -- the jazz age.  I could envision the extravagance of Gatsby's lifestyle, the alcohol, the dresses, the lifestyle of the rich and famous of the 1920's.  I could almost feel the cool breeze blowing across the patio and the party goers broke into their intimate groups.  I could see Gatsby standing at the top of the steps surveying his world -- the world he built for Daisy.

From the beginning I thought the character of Gatsby to be sad.  With all his wealth and opulent lifestyle, he seemed to be the loneliest, most insecure man on the earth.  I disliked Tom immediately and I felt that Daisy wasn't what she appeared to be.  Jordan seemed to be cool, level headed and not willing to put herself on the line for anybody.   The story is told from the viewpoint of Nick Carraway.  While he seemed to be curious and somewhat awed about Gatsby and his life he was also frustrated by it all.  He was caught up, for three months, in Gatsby's world but he never really became a part of it.  It seemed that Carraway was the most grounded of all the characters.

The plot progressed nicely.  I really enjoyed the interaction between characters -- it was a good window into interpersonal relationships and mores of the time.  As was noted by the New York Times "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession" as was evidenced in this work.  Yet, while life had a definite wild side, there was still a decorum to be upheld.  The reader knows what is going on the book -- read between the lines -- but it is never overtly discussed -- it is assumed.  The book flows well an it is difficult to put down.  It is a short read and goes quickly.  I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

There -- I feel like I have just written a book report and I guess I have.  Now, I just might watch the movie.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rough Month

This has been a rough month for friends.  One diagnosed, one dying and one gone.  The one in the process of her journey will probably be gone by morning.  I am sad.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Can't Believe --

it has been 10 days since my last post.  What in the world have I been doing? a word -- nothing.  Well, nothing of any consequence anyway.  I have been reading some and rearranging craft/sewing stuff a bit (about ready to just toss all of that) and going through magazines.

I have a problem with magazines.  I enjoy them.  I really enjoy them and I pay money for them but they seem to multiply themselves in the dark, I have nowhere to put them and I hate to throw them away because I feel like I am throwing money away.  So, what is a girl to do?  Well, I dragged everything out of my magazine hidey holes (there are several) and started going through them.  I finally got so tired of it I just threw everything in the recycling bin and didn't look back.  I really need to keep on top of the magazine situation.

Oh, yes, Sunday I went to church and walked across the windy parking lot into the building.  Halfway through the service it hit me.  I developed a terrible allergy headache and since then have been having a horrible allergy attack.  I don't think I will need to see the doctor but I am a bit tired of it now.  This is the second allergy issue in as many months.  Yeah.  Did I mention that Hubs is in the same boat?  Bad allergies with him as well.

Oh, yes again, I was grating soap for my laundry soap and managed to mangle my thumb on the grater.  I started thinking then that I should just use the food processor to grate the soap but then that would defeat the purpose of trying to be "green" now, wouldn't it.  I finally got it all finished but I was very careful.  The Kirk's Castile soap is much harder than the Dr. Bronner's so I might go back to Dr. Bronner's. 

I tried a new biscuit recipe tonight.  It is the one on the back of the White Lily flour bag and I have to say it was really good.  I usually use Pioneer biscuit mix but I haven't been liking it so much lately so I decided to try this -- very easy with the self rising flour and they were really good.  The only thing I changed was to use butter instead of shortening.  Hubs like them and that is all I need to know to put something in my permanent recipe rotation.  He is very hard to please but he needs to lighten up because his blood sugar is running way too high and we are going to start eating MY way.  He has just become spoiled on restaurant food and we need to change our ways.  I digress.

Anyway, that is all that has been going on with me.  Bad allergies, no energy, grumpy husband -- all the makings of a riveting post! On that I will close - maybe more tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Musing Mondays (Mar. 17)

MusingMondays5Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I love Musing Mondays, so many things to ponder! So, I will jump right in.

I have just finished reading "The Quilter's Legacy" by Jennifer Chiaverini.  This is the fifth of the Elm Creek Quilt series that I have read and it was delightful.  All of Chiaverini's books contain a bit of history, a bit of quilting and a bit of mystery.  It is a perfect combination.  I have already started another book but when it is done (it is very short) I will begin the next in the Elm Creek Quilter's series -- "The Master Quilter".  

I am currently reading "The Great Gatsby".  Why have I chosen this book, you might ask?  Well, I joined in on a conversation on Facebook about books read in high school and my much younger counterparts thought it was ridiculous that I hadn't been required to read this work.  I suddenly felt that my education was somehow lacking and so I went to the bookstore and bought a copy.  I did remind them, however, that MY required reading involved works like "Beowulf".  So, there, youngsters, let's compare educations if you must.   

That, clearly, brings me to my current read which is "The Great Gatsby".  So far so good.  I will let you know when I am done.  I guess I will have to start another Facebook conversation about this book to see what the "youngsters" thought about it, reading it in high school.  I am sure that when I was in high school I would have found it boring.  I think. Probably better than "Beowulf" however.

I went to Barnes and Noble the other night just to have some place to go (pathetic, isn't it) and I happened across two books that I felt compelled to pick up.  The first -- well, what can I say -- caught my eye because it is a classic and I don't feel that I have read enough classics and the cover -- oh yes, the cover.

Also, I snatched up "A Place at the Table" by Susan Rebecca White.  The cover wasn't outstanding but the synopsis appealed to me so it will be on my soon-TBR list.

The book that I am waiting rather impatiently for is "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good" by Jan Karon.  Even though Karon thought she was done with the Mitford series and progressed on to the Father Tim series, I guess she discovered there was more of Mitford to tell so her new book is a continuation of the Mitford Series and I couldn't be more thrilled.  I have read, and own, all of her books and I love them.  I can sit down with one of them and no longer be in Fort Worth, Texas but rather Mitford, North Carolina and be totally engrossed.  I can't wait for this new book. What a wonderful fall read it will be!!

So, there you have it for my Musing Monday. Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

From Catholic Online we learn this about our beloved St. Patrick--

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.
Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.
Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.
There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.
Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.
As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.
During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.
He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."
He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.
Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.
Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.
Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).
Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.
He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.
Why a shamrock? Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.
In His Footsteps: Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.

And yes, I have quite a bit of Irish heritage.  I talk mostly about being Welsh but I am as much Irish and am currently trying to learn more about my "Irishness". 

Meet my great-grandfather, Henry Patrick Conn -- he is only one of my relations that bears an Irish name. 

Even though he was born in the United States I think his attire looks a bit Irish, don't you?  The hat?  In any event, I am proud of my Irish heritage and even though I identify with my Welsh ancestry more, I am learning and forging a kinship with my Irish clan and am proud to be a part of it.

Erin Go Bragh!

Friday, March 14, 2014

My excerpt this week will be from The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini.

"Sylvia supposed all brides-to-be considered eloping at some point during the engagement, but she had never expected to feel that way herself, and certainly not a mere few weeks after agreeing to become Andrew's wife."

Well, obviously, this first sentence leaves the reader wanting to know why Sylvia would consider elopement so I think it is a good lead in.  I am over half done with this book so I know what is going on but I think this sentence does make you want to keep reading.  I have read several of the books in this series and they have all been good, this one is no different and I am enjoying it. I would recommend.
 Good Morning! Nothing Like  A Little Free Association at Dawn --

This is a meme I used to do with great regularity but have gotten away from it.  I decided to give it a go again this morning so -- here goes!

Unconscious Mutterings

Free association is described as a "psychonanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to give free rein to his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring its content." Over time, this technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can then work through to gain a better sense of self.
That's an admirable goal, but for the purposes of this excercise, we're just hoping to have a little fun with the technique. Each week I'll post ten words to which you can respond to with the first thing that comes to mind.
"Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head. AND you don't have to have your words up on Sunday. Take all week if you want! Read the FAQ for more information.
Sunday, March 09, 2014

Week 580
I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Personal :: space
  2. Coworker :: problem
  3. Sofa :: cozy
  4. Serious :: business
  5. Chords :: piano
  6. Platonic :: friendly
  7. Jacket :: coat
  8. Neck :: scarf
  9. Scatter :: toys
  10. Nailpolish :: yuck

Ok, there it is.  My Unconscious Mutterings for this week.  Not very exciting, is it?  Well, it is only 6:30 in the morning!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Voila -- And Then There Was Bread!

Do not use this pan.  Trust me on this.

Earlier today I posted on Facebook about not liking commercially made bread anymore.  I have been making our bread for the last several weeks because all I taste are chemicals when I eat the ready made stuff.  So, I tried several recipes and found one I liked, made an adjustment or two and have my go-to recipe.  A couple of people have asked me to post the recipe but rather than doing it on FB, I am doing it here because I feel like I have more room to ramble.

So, anyway, this is the recipe I have titled Melissa's Easy White Bread #2.  It is #2 because it was my second attempt with changes.  So, here goes.

3/4 cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast (or 3 tsp. if you are using it out of a jar)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. melted butter
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all purpose flour (I thought it came out better when I used organic all purpose flour.)

1.  In a large bowl add warm water and yeast.  Stir until yeast is dissolved.

2.  Add sugar, butter and milk to the bowl of yeast and stir.

3.  Mix in first 2 cups of flour and salt.

4.  If needed, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough chases spoon around bowl.

5.  Turn dough out on a floured board and knead adding small spoonfuls of flour as needed.

6.  Put it in an oiled bowl to rise -- about an hour.

7.  Punch down, knead again on floured board, shape into a loaf.  Spray pan with Pam (or something like it) lightly.  Put the dough into the pan and let it rise again -- about an hour.

8.  Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  You know when it is done when it sounds hollow when you thump the top.

Actually, I have just been adding the three cups of flour in the beginning and lightly dust the board when I knead the bread.  You can do it according to directions but you end up using all the flour anyway so -- yeah, I just put it all in.  

Ok, note about pan.  I used this ceramic pan three times and two out of the three times it didn't turn out like I wanted it.  You aren't supposed to have to grease the pan after the first use but the last time I used it I buttered the pan and the bread was soggy and today, I didn't grease the pan and the bread stuck.  So, I have had great luck with this recipe with a regular loaf pan that you can buy at the grocery store or Target.  I won't be using this pan again. 

Anyway, this is my white bread recipe.  It is fast and easy to mix up, you don't feel like you are doing heavy exercise to mix it up and it turns out really good.  So, enjoy!

"Another question raised by YA author A.S. King‘s blog post last week which touched on censorship—especially as it pertains to young adult books.
She writes:
If there really is [an ideal] town like this in America, I am happy about that. Really truly happy. But are your teenagers going to stay in that town forever? Don’t you want them to go to college? Or go out in the world and do stuff? And don’t you want them to be prepared for all of these real things that happen all the time in real life? Don’t you want them to know that they will make mistakes? Don’t you want them to learn how to make smarter mistakes?
Fiction can help. I write my books for one reason, whether they are for adults or teens. I write to make readers think. I write to widen perspective. I write to make readers ask questions and then answer the questions or start conversations. And I write sometimes to give voice to the throwaways, of which our society has many, but we usually hide them because we are still uncomfortable with what we see as our own mistakes. Make sure you say that in a whisper. Throwaways.
And so … this, right here, pretty much explains exactly WHY I like reading so much. Yes, it’s fun and entertaining and diverting, and all that, but ultimately, it TEACHES me things. It broadens my horizons and makes me look at ideas and people and life in general in new and interesting ways. Isn’t that what reading and art in general is SUPPOSED to do? How do you feel about this? Do you agree? Disagree? Discuss!"

I believe that reading is a venue for learning as well as a pleasurable activity for relaxation and diversion.  As my neighbor told my bride-to-be daughter "if you can read, you can cook". 

I was an avid reader as a child -- it was my activity of choice since I wasn't particularly athletic and I was an only child so I spent lots of time on my own.  I loved the books by Kate Seredy -- "The Good Master" and "The Singing Tree"  which took me into a culture and an era that was not my own.  I was entranced. I always enjoyed historical fiction because I was curious about how the generations before me lived.

I am still the same way as an adult -- I love reading for pleasure but I also read for knowledge.  I read lots of magazines -- Smithsonian being one of my favorites-- and I am an avid blog reader.  I quilt, cross stitch and embroider and I enjoy reading about what other crafters are doing and learning new techniques.

I do genealogy so I am fascinated with reading old documents and records as well as tips on how to find more information.  When I began doing family history, the first official document to find it's way into my hands was my great-grandmother's death certificate.  I was in awe that I had a piece of paper in my hand that would help me to know the woman who mothered my grandfather -- the woman I never knew but was always curious about.  Reading that document gave me insight about the woman but also about her life.  Nothing can compare to that and yes, it was a learning opportunity.

I love reading books/magazines/blogs that take me places that I will never go but would love to.  Pictures make me happy! I also learn a lot about the children of today by studying current kid-lit fare.  Can't say I am thrilled with that in some cases but it is a window into the child world today.

So, yes, I would say that reading is as much a learning opportunity as it is a pleasurable activity.

I am opposed to censorship because it is subjective.  Who is doing the censoring?  Who has the right to determine what I read or don't read?  When my children were young I was aware of what they read but I never censored what they read.  I was much more concerned about tv programs and movies.  I find it very disturbing to think that somebody could control what I read/watch/think/say.  The only person that has the right to do that is me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.  Hop on over and join in! The object of this exercise is to post two random sentences from your current read (no spoilers please).

Today, my teaser comes from The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini.

"She shook her head as she flipped through the magazines someone had left on the desk --Bride's, American Bride, Country Bride--and dumped the whole stack into the trash can. Unless they came out with an edition of Octogenarian Bride, she would leave the pleading overtures of the bridal industry to the younger girls."

I don't know about you but I find "octogenarian bride" to be a bit intriguing.

So, there is my teaser.  I am about half way through the book and, as is usual with me, I can't put it down so I am off to read with my morning cuppa!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Necessity -- The Mother of All Invention -- and Then There Was Pinterest and the Genius Husband

As I stated in my last post, I was going to have the honor and privilege of having my youngest granddaughter spend the night with us on Saturday night.  I was thrilled as this was a new experience for me.  There was a bit of apprehension, however, as it has been a very long time since I have had a "little" in my house  and I knew I was sorely prepared as I don't have a particularly "child friendly" house (read travertine floors) and an elaborate day bed with designs in which I could just envision a little head or hands or feet being caught.

So, as I set about making preparations for the visit I knew that I had to somehow come up with an idea for a guard rail for the bed.  Now Bean has been in a toddler bed for a long time and there is a low guard rail on that so she is used to some sort of confinement but I didn't really like the guard rails I could find to purchase because they are much higher than she is used to and I didn't know if they would work with the type of bed I have with a mattress on a metal spring rather than a box spring.  So, I was on a quest.

I found inflatable guards.  These were $25 a piece.

I found a cute little inflatable toddler bed but, for $79 I decided this wasn't a good option since she is growing and would probably grow out of it before it would wear out since I don't imagine sleeping over is going to become a common practice.  Also, I didn't like the idea that it was only 4 inches off the floor -- dusty carpet and this kid just don't mix -- let the wheezing begin!

So, off to Pinterest I go and look at all manner of ways to keep a child in the bed.  One entry mentioned pool noodles.

Before I had a chance to mention it to my husband he asked if we still had the pool noodles I had bought a couple of years ago to make blocks out of and of course the answer was yes as I never seem to throw anything away.  So, in five minutes the pool noodles became a guard rail and it worked beautifully!  I was thrilled that I finally got to use those stupid incredibly useful things instead of throwing them away.  Plus, it is so easy and cheap (I got them at the dollar store for, yes, $1 each and they are made in the USA).  It is easy to assemble providing you have four rubber bands and a towel and it was perfect.  It fit under the deep pocket fitted sheet and was high enough to corral the kiddo yet low enough for her to climb in and out of bed.  When we were done we simply removed the noodles and stored them in the closet and folded up the towel.

three pool noodles held together with regular rubber bands
stacked like a pyramid

wrapped in a thick towel to make it cushy


So, in order to eliminate the problem (fear) of having little body parts get caught up in the swirly ironwork, we simply threw the comforter over the back of the bed and tucked it in between the mattress and the headboard and then tucked it in behind the top of the headboard -- it looked upholstered and voila! no way to get stuck!

It made a cozy little nest for the Bean and she slept quite well.  I would say the first sleepover was a rousing success!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Exciting Weekend

Here I was doing so well at posting every day or two and now I have slipped.  Not without good reason, however.  This past week has been really hectic.  It was gorgeous weather, then it was not so gorgeous weather, then we had a sudden and heavy ice storm followed by nice weather -- again -- and here we are.  I babysat all week but got stuck at my daughters because of the ice so that threw my week off a bit. Had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday but he was called into surgery and I had to reschedule -- after I was already sitting in his waiting room!  So, that threw the day off.  It has just been a week of near-misses and re-do's.  Good thing I am flexible and don't get angry over stuff like that.

However, the weekend proves to be exciting.  We will be having a house guest and I am very excited.  This is our Bean's first foray into sleeping over.  She has been at our house sans parental units before but not for overnight.  This will be a first and I am looking forward to it.  I will let you know how it goes but now I have to go turn my sewing space back into a guest room.  I am working on a quilt that I am really wanting to get finished soon but I keep having to put it away for one reason or another.  However, I am hoping to get that finished next week as I won't be babysitting due to spring break. 

So, for now, wish me luck! It has been a long time since I have had a little one under my roof.  

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Weather

I don't like to complain because I am seriously grateful for each and every day and don't feel that complaining is a viable use of my time..  I find gratitude to be as essential to life as food and water.  However, I am a bit weary of the weather.  I live in Texas and Texas is known for its weather changes.  Today is no different.  For the last couple of days we have had springlike summer-like temps -- mid-80's, light breeze and beautiful sunshine.  My daughter and her family spent the day at the local zoo and actually mentioned being hot.  It didn't start out so beautiful though, at least at our house.  This is what our morning looked like out my back door--

Just on the other side of this foggy wall is a huge Target store but you would never know it

From the front as it starts to lift

However, the fog lifted to expose a beautiful day.

Today -- yeah, not so much --

Oh dear -- it is blue-- a sure sign of ice or snow
So, I was hoping this was going to be our last arctic blast -- we will see if I am right.